Posts for: June, 2020

By Mid-Valley Gastroenterology
June 24, 2020
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: Constipation  
ConstipationConstipation is the source of plenty of jokes. However, if you deal with it--even occasionally--constipation isn't funny; you just want it resolved. Your gastroenterologist helps many patients with constipation, uncovering reasons for it, and getting people the relief they need. Here's some practical help.
 
What is constipation?
In general, constipation is the inability to pass stool regularly. Often, changes in daily routine, travel, and a diet low in fiber leads to fullness and pain in the abdomen, sluggishness, super-hard stools, and even bleeding and hemorrhoids produced by straining. Experts at the Cleveland Clinic say that 2.5 million Americans annually see their primary care physicians because they are constipated.
 
What causes constipation?
Many factors play into this gastrointestinal complaint. Poor hydration and an age-related slow metabolic rate are common causes, as are:
  • Certain medications
  • Lack of exercise
  • Pregnancy
  • Excessive amounts of dairy products, including cheese and milk
  • Stress
  • Not going to the toilet frequently enough
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Abusing laxatives
Pinpointing the reasons
Your constipation may signal an underlying disease condition, and it can lead to physical issues such as rectal prolapse and hemorrhoids if left untreated. Your gastroenterologist will want to review all your symptoms; so be specific about your bowel movements, when your constipation started, and what, if anything, relieves it. He or she may run tests, such as X-rays or colonoscopy, to look for structural abnormalities or disease processes.
 
How can you deal with constipation?
John Hopkins Medicine says that most constipation responds to:
  • Changing your diet to include fiber
  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day to soften stool
  • Staying as active as possible
  • Switching routine medications (with your doctor's approval)
  • Limited use of laxatives (enemas, glycerin suppositories, stimulant laxatives)
  • Daily fiber supplements (psyllium or bran cereals) or stool softeners
Some gastroenterologists recommend biofeedback techniques for their constipated patients. With biofeedback, the individual learns how to strengthen and to use his or her pelvic floor muscles more efficiently.
 
Manage your constipation
A healthy gut means a healthier, happier you. To learn more about constipation and other common GI problems, contact your gastroenterologist.

By Mid-Valley Gastroenterology
June 05, 2020
Category: digestive health
Tags: Heartburn  
HeartburnWhen the natural stomach acid produced during digestion reaches your esophagus, it causes what is known as Heartburn or Acid Reflux. It feels like stomach or chest pain, or possibly a burning sensation. You’ve most likely experienced this at some point in your life. It’s a common occurrence after eating very large meals or greasy foods. It’s only when you have heartburn all the time or every meal that you need to see a gastroenterologist.
 
Treatment for Mild Heartburn
Your gastroenterologist starts by focusing on your symptoms. These concentrate on prevention, with certain diet and lifestyle changes. You need to first start by evaluating what you eat. 
 
Avoid these foods if you suffer from heartburn:
  • Chocolate
  • Greasy and fatty foods
  • Mint
  • Spicy foods
  • Onions
  • Garlic
Antacids are over-the-counter stomach acid reducers that help when experiencing bouts of heartburn.
 
There are also risk factors for experiencing heartburn, including being overweight, smoking, pregnancy, and excessive alcohol intake.
 
Following certain guidelines is the ideal way to keep your heartburn at bay. These include eating smaller meals on a more frequent basis, avoiding lying down after eating, wearing loose clothing, and avoiding activities that involve bending down or lifting.
 
Heartburn as an Indicator of GERD
If heartburn is left to progress without intervention, it develops into gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). You need to stop severe heartburn complications in their tracks. Otherwise, they result in severe inflammation and ulceration of the esophagus, scarring, and Barrett's esophagus. Cancer becomes a possibility without the help of a gastroenterologist. 
 
Treatment for GERD 
Treatment is a mixture of the preventive measures listed above alongside pharmaceuticals. Your gastroenterologist may prescribe medications known as PPIs or H2 blockers. These work to stop the overproduction of acid in the stomach. Alginate drugs are another option. They create a barrier within the stomach that protects it from stomach acid. 
 
Antacids are the most popular and common over-the-counter treatment for heartburn. They provide a short-term reduction of stomach acidity. There are dozens of different brands and types of antacids. This includes formats like liquid, gels, and regular pills. 
 
Consider contacting a gastroenterologist if you experience throat problems like soreness, pain when swallowing, nauseous, wheezing, a persistent cough, and bad breath. These are other common symptoms of GERD.